Monday, April 16, 2007

Should Microsoft control your PC?

Saw this linked from a story on
It's an email from 1999 in which Bill Gates comments on the (then) emerging ACPI standard for power management and other system information/control for PCs. In the email he says:
One thing I find myself wondering about is whether we shouldn't try to make the ACPI extensions somehow Windows specific.
He goes on to say
It seems unfortunate if we do this work and get our partners to do the work and the result is that Linux works great without having to do the work.
So, I guess the idea behind industry "standards" is that they should reinforce one company's monopoly position? Perhaps I'm taking these statements out of context, but it seems clear that Microsoft is working towards a world in which PCs can run only Windows. In other words, you might own your computer, but you shouldn't have the right to choose what software you run on it.

It's easy to be an alarmist these days; witness the controversies over DRM, DMCA, etc., etc. However, as consumers we need to exercise our power to choose the ways in which we use technology. Otherwise, we run the risk of having that choice made for us.

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